DA opens credit window for poor farmers, fishermen | Inquirer Business
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DA opens credit window for poor farmers, fishermen

The Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) Friday turned over to the Land Bank of the Philippines a P500-million funding package, which would be used as a lending facility for farmhands and fisherfolks.

The fund is part of the ACPC’s agrarian production credit program, which is meant to help rural borrowers gain better access to credit.

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ACPC executive director Jovita M. Corpuz said during the turnover rites held at the Novotel Hotel in Quezon City, only about 53 percent of farmers and fishermen are able to get loans exclusively from formal sources or banks. She added 40 percent still borrow from private, nonbank lenders while the remaining 7 percent borrow from both formal and informal sources.

“Loans released by banks to the agriculture sector account for only 2 percent of their total loan portfolio,” she said. “Only 0.6 percent goes to agricultural production.”

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The program is a joint credit and capacity development initiative among the DA, Department of Agrarian Reform and Landbank.

It is designed to respond to the credit needs of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) for various economic projects such as agricultural crop production, agri-enterprise and livelihood projects.

Initiated through the Carper law (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms), the program is also intended to cater to new ARBs whose respective organizations are not yet eligible under the existing regular lending programs of the Landbank.

The program is also meant to address the credit needs of existing ARBs who are not yet able to access production loans from the formal credit market.

Corpuz said in an interview there were at least 5,000 farmers qualified to avail of the credit facility.

She said the funding was part of a P2-billion kitty the ACPC has been mobilizing since 2015.

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